How normal is Normal?

I think it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. How normal is the life that we are leading as a race? Let me rephrase. I think everyone can agree when I say 2020 has been a tragic year for all of humanity. Individually though, I have personally borne witness to how amazing the year 2020 has been for a lot of my friends. A few found love, others founded business models with their pals. Some took time off and learnt tap dance or karate, while one researched about green tea leaves. A few focused on updating their skills. Many graduated from their living room. Many started their corporate careers from the comfort of their beds. I hope you understand where I’m going with this.

If you don’t, all of this- our accomplishments…They’re normal, sure. But these accomplishments were made during a Global Pandemic that rocked the world. Most developing countries are struggling, while developed nations are healing. Yet we have managed to weave a normal life out of this. I watch movies that were made BC (Before Corona) and I promise I jump with fright and unease when I see a party scene or a kissing scene. SO MUCH HUMAN CONTACT. It’s….almost abnormal.

I marvel and worry at the rate at which we adapted. This makes me wonder what us humans CAN’T do. Will we survive the consequences of climate change? Did the Mayans really have to warn us about the end of the world? Was 2020 the ‘premonition year’ – the trailer to the real live version of the movie 2012. If Noah’s Ark saved humans and all living beings, who will save us this time? Elon Musk? Will we have to move to Mars?

With new times ahead, we will have new problems. What will be our next normal?

How okay is it to lead a normal life during a global pandemic?

I have recently found myself looking for a quaint little apartment for a nominal rent in the city. Like the process of house-hunting wasn’t bad enough earlier, this little project is turning into my favourite nightmare. Unwarranted chides, ridiculous expectations, just out of reach rent, it sure has been a rollercoaster ride.

The act of house-hunting itself (getting on a bike and following your house broker around winding streets and narrow gullies) has become stressful. I mean, I sure don’t want to contract the virus. So how do I “okay” a house? Videocalls. That’s right. My house broker is better than yours.

It was awkward and painful. I was bargaining with the landlord when his 2 year old behind him somersaulted off her plastic three wheeler. “Yes Mr. Hegde, I know your daughter just toppled off her tricycle but can you consider bringing down the rent by a couple of thousands please?”.

When I actually gathered some courage to go out to see a property (I took the necessary safety precautions) I was denied a tour of the house because the landlord is a heart patient. So he asked me to look at the property from the outside and take a call.

What annoyed me the most was even after being fully aware of the fact that the times are hard and that the economy is crashing, the landlords without any hesitation whatsoever, quote a ridiculous price. “No, Mr. Patel, I’m not paying 25 grand. This place is a hole!”

The house-hunting was futile. I have found no house, I’m still under tremendous pressure to find one and I’m left with a soul-shaking amount of guilt. I am privileged enough to be looking for a stay. I am privileged enough to be choosy about my stay.

To hope for a better world makes me feel ignorant. To hope for the betterment of the world makes me feel privileged. To hope to get successful one day and bring about change seems passably correct. So I will do that. Finishing off this rant, for now, now that’s what you call a guilt trip!